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'The Mozart Conspiracy' hits thrilling, suspenseful notes
By Carol Memmott, USA TODAY
Meet British Special Air Service officer Ben Hope. He's about to get caught up in a centuries-old conspiracy that will have him matching wits and trading gunfire with an ancient society that may have been responsible for the murder of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The "official" cause of Mozart's death was determined to be acute rheumatic fever, but modern hypotheses include the possibility he was poisoned. That theory was at the center of the play and movie Amadeus and blames a rival composer. But it's another theory — that Mozart was murdered by the Freemasons as punishment for his weaving Freemason secrets into his opera The Magic Flute— that Mariani explores.
Yes, it's formulaic, taking its cues from the Bourne movies and the James Bond franchise. Hope is a stoic loner (think Matt Damon as Jason Bourne or Daniel Craig's interpretation of James Bond) who gets dragged into the novel's thriller-esque plot when he comes to the aid of a beautiful woman whose brother may have been murdered because he discovered who killed Mozart. Still, it's a rollickingly good way to pass some time in an easy chair.